High penalty for ÖVP after too expensive election campaign

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Sebastian Kurz at an election campaign event in Graz in September 2017.
Picture: AFP

In Austria, the parties can only spend a certain amount on the election campaign. When Sebastian Kurz became chancellor for the first time in 2017, the ÖVP spent too much. He has to pay for that now.

WIf the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s ÖVP spent more money on the election campaign than allowed in 2017, the party now has to pay a penalty. The conservative party was obliged to pay a fine of 800,000 euros for exceeding the campaign cost limit, the Independent Party Transparency Senate announced on Wednesday in Vienna. The ÖVP had spent almost 13 million euros on the 2017 election victory. Only seven million euros are permitted in the last 82 days before an urn.

The ÖVP can appeal to the Federal Administrative Court against the fine within four weeks. The maximum penalty for exceeding the campaign cost limit would have been a good million euros. The conservative party had already exceeded the cost limit by 4.3 million euros in the 2013 election campaign.

In the 2017 election, the ÖVP and the right FPÖ emerged as the election winners in Austria. The two parties then formed an alliance that was viewed particularly critically from abroad; Sebastian Kurz became chancellor at the age of 31 for the first time. The FPÖ had also exceeded the permitted limit for campaign costs and spent 3.7 million euros more than was permitted. The Ibiza video and its aftermath ended the coalition in May 2019.

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